A Year in The Vines – February 2014
Torrential rain is driven by a stiff wind. Falling on the steep hillside it forms streams that run energetically between rocks and vines. Beneath dense clouds, that roll in from the west, the village of Meursault wakes up to another cold and wet February morning.
On a small parcel of land, flanked by pine trees, called the Les Hauts Bruns, Jean-Pierre and his wife Natalie are already well into their days work. There is little colour. There are no leaves. The earth is wet and heavy, the vines are bare. The landscape at this time of year is more reminiscent of a battle field in a history book than the picturesque images of Burgundy that adorn the picture-books and postcards in the wine shops.
The work at this time of year is also less romantic but the work is essential. While in January last years growth was cut away from the vines and burned, in February what’s left of the vines is bent over and attached to the countless rows of galvanised wires that run innumerably between rigid pine posts.
The cold and damp exacerbate the tendonitis in Nathalie’s right hand, a consequence from years of pruning and tying, while her left side complains at the constant motion of leaning over the vines to work. But to do this job on a bitterly cold day when the air is dry and crisp would risk some of the vines snapping as they are bent and fastened into position with short lengths of wire.
In heavy waterproof clothing Jean-Pierre and Natalie work patiently up and down the slopes of this small patch ensuring each and every vine is attached in its best position, ready for the rising of the sap and the first signs of growth in the spring.